Forget Weis – fire the Notre Dame football program

I WONDER how many people can identify the strong academic programs at the University of Notre Dame. Meanwhile, much has been made of Notre Dame’s Nov. 30 announcement that the school’s football coach was being fired (“Weis latest to fail in bid to right Irish,’’ Sports, Dec. 1). Charlie Weis’s teams won more than they lost during his five-year tenure, but in the university administration’s eyes, that was not winning enough. His contract will be bought out at an expense of many millions of dollars, while many more millions of dollars will be spent searching for and hiring a successor.

The head football coach’s salary at Notre Dame and similar large universities is many times what they pay an academic full professor. Is the Notre Dame football program just another entertainment enterprise that maintains a vague relationship with an institution of higher learning? Is it a tail wagging its dog?

Locally, we have Northeastern University following the earlier example of Boston University in recognizing an unjustified expense, terminating a football program, and confirming that the university was the dog and an intercollegiate sports program was but a tail.